A few months ago, a few girlfriends and I went to a 90s-themed charity event in the Mission. I knew it had something to do with feminine health, which was enough for me, but was truly inspired when Simply the Basics took the stage and explained their mission.
The nonprofit collects hygiene items such as shampoo, soap, deodorant, pads, and tampons and distributes them to domestic abuse and homeless shelters.
To me, the most striking component of the hygiene kits were the pads and tampons. I go into crisis mode once a month when I’ve inevitably forgotten to purchase tampons (anyone else do a monthly search through every single purse in your room praying to find just one so you can make your way to CVS?) and had never thought about what would happen if I didn’t have the money or access to quickly make those purchases.
My period is a terrible time of month, so Simply the Basic’s cause really resonated with me. Everyone deserves access to hygiene products and showers, of course, but the period piece was a wakeup call. Feeling inspired, I reached out to their team and arranged for my Women at Stitch group to volunteer one afternoon.
We hosted a hygiene drive at work and people brought in the mini shampoo and shower gel containers you get at hotels, as well as pads, tampons, and toothbrushes. Then, about 10 of us went to package the kits as well as write notes of encouragement. One quick aside on the notes of encouragement—typically, writing motivational messages to strangers seems phony to me and I always feel like I’ll accidentally say something offensive (i.e. “It will get better!” when, well, I have no idea.) But, we were packaging kits specifically for a domestic abuse shelter so it felt authentic to write about how brave these women are, knowing they’ve already done something so difficult and scary in leaving an abusive partner.
Simply the Basic’s website has ideas for hosting a hygiene drive, and if you’re in San Francisco, I’d highly recommend volunteering. There are other ways to get involved I’m excited to explore, such as learning how to teach a course on healthy cooking with food stamps and then teaching at local shelters.
I find most of my friends are eager to donate their time and money to causes in which they believe; it’s the time to research and find the right one that deters many from doing it more frequently. So, I thought I’d share this organization and experience should it strike a cord for anyone else!